Someone once showed me a video of a woman going completely out of her mind at a drive through restaurant because she had to wait three minutes for her cookies. Obscenities and insults flew out of her mouth and, a few times, she leaned out of the car window to pound on the drive through window. Over cookies. That only took three whole minutes to bake.
The manager of the restaurant, in a tremendous show of patience, calmly spoke to the customer to the tune of, I understand you are upset, but I cannot make the cookies bake any faster and cussing at me won’t get the cookies baked, either.
The character quality of patience allows us to endure difficult or frustrating circumstances without complaining, losing our tempers, or resorting to other destructive measures. One look around society today and we see a trend in the loss of patience. The instant gratification we have been receiving from the conveniences of modern life has removed the need to ‘wait it out’.
Our marriage went through a difficult season that chipped away at both of us until we were acting like a couple of impatient toddlers. The quirks that were once so cute and adorable became the very reasons we were resenting each other. I had an entire list of things my husband did that infuriated me and the list got sillier and more ridiculous the longer it got.
One evening I was standing in the kitchen screeching like a boiling kettle and saying through clenched teeth, “My patience is wearing thin!”
The attitude of my heart probably wasn’t much different than the lady pounding on the window for her cookies. I was immediately hit with 1 Corinthians 13 twirling around in my mind like a storm. I began to see all of the attributes and qualities of love; patience, kindness, forgiveness, no pride or boasting, it isn’t selfish, and love honors.
I did not recognize myself in 1 Corinthians 13 or even Galatians 5:22-23, so I started to wonder what my faith walk looked like to God.
Suddenly, I saw that I was being self-righteous (you messed up and I did not), proud (you are wrong and I am right), unforgiving (I cannot let go of this), unkind (What am I? A maid? Get your own drink of water!), selfish (my hurt feelings are more important than your feelings), dishonorable (let me complain to you about…), boasting (my spiritual growth is better than your spiritual growth), and impatient (if you mess up one more time…).
Thankfully, my husband and I weathered that season, moved into a much better season, and grew in an abundance of patience toward one another.
The result of us both shifting our focus has been a deep sense of freedom.
The virtues of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13 were designed to go together and the result of those characteristics working in unison is humility. If any one of those qualities goes missing, then the whole kit and caboodle comes undone.
I came across a statement by another blogger and I have meditated on that thought since I first saw it. SlimJim says, “Humility: The virtue that confirms our other virtues are real and not just ‘self-righteousness.’“
I think that right there sums it up.